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80 Years Ago

Archives 11-24-2004





LA basketball season begins
Cats play in 3rd round playoff game

LA basketball season begins

Lyndon Johnson/OCN staff
Livingston Academy senior Kristin Hoover takes a shot during the 67-60 win over Celina in the Hall of Fame game played at Celina High School on November 16.

Livingston Academy boys and girls basketball got underway for the 2004-05 season last week with the girls playing twice and the boys once.

On Tuesday, Nov. 16, both teams travelled to Celina to open the season. The Lady Wildcats, the defending state champions, pulled off a 67-60 win over the Lady Bulldogs while the boys dropped a close contest, 60-57.

Head Coach Lesley Smith said of her Lady Cats, "This was our first test of the season and it was a win. I didn't think we played well, but Celina has a strong team and that was part of it. We didn't shoot all that well, and I wasn't really happy with our defense."

The Lady Wildcats never trailed in the game, taking an 18-16 lead at the end of the first period led by 3 at the half, 33-30.

Senior April Handy, who led all shooters with 22 points, said, "We're a better shooting team than that. The ball really didn't want to fall tonight. I thought we came around some in the second half, but we have to have more players in double figures."

Handy and Brittany McCoin, with 10 points, were the only Livingston players in double figures.

In the boys contest against Celina, the Wildcats were playing without the services of Wilson Cates, Wesley Puckett, Matt Reeder, and Brian Colson, but managed to keep the contest close.

Brad West kept Livingston in the game with some fine outside shooting, and ended the game with 14 points. Brandon Matthews led the attack with 19.

Coach Danny McCoin said, "Well, we just couldn't buy a basket at times tonight, but neither could they.

"We're not going to panic this early in the season, and when we get all our plays back, we'll be fine. I thought we played much better as the game went along."

In the Lady Cats' game Saturday against Gibson County, Livingston Academy hit the road for Martin to take on the powerful squad. But for a cold snap during the first half of the final period, the Lady Cats were in the game all the way.

Livingston led by 2 at the end of the first period, and trailed by 7 at the half. At the end of the third frame, Gibson led by 4 at 49-45. But at the opening of the final period, the Cats went freezing cold, going almost half of the period before scoring. LA ultimately lost 65-75.

Coach Smith said, "Gibson is a good team, and we stayed right with them for most of the game.

"Right there in the final period, we just got it going, and until I look at the film, I really don't know why. They had one player (Katelan Dudley) who really hurt us (39 points). Our scoring was better spread out, but we still only had one player (Krista Clinard) in double figures."

Clinard had 14 points on the night, while Kristin Hoover, Whitney Sells, and Ashley Matthews each added 8. Handy and Haley Mullins each added 6.

The Wildcats and Lady Wildcats were on the road again Monday night, Nov. 22 at Hume Fogg, and were scheduled for a home game Tuesday night to face Pickett County. The Livingston Academy teams will be at home again next Tuesday night, Nov. 30 to host Cookeville.


Cats play in 3rd round playoff game

Lyndon Johnson/OCN staff
Livingston Academy senior Brian Colson, #32, hangs onto the legs of Smith County running back Michael Wilmore, #21, while more LA defenders help take him down.

When the 2005 graduating class of Livingston Academy gathers in a few years for their first reunion, one of the main topics of discussion will be the football season. After all the handshaking and greetings are through, a lot of reminiscing will focus on the team that was perhaps the finest in the school's history.

They'll recall the record breaking 11-2 season, the 10 game winning streak, the most points scored in one season, and the most touchdowns scored by a single player, all records that may stand for a long time.

But they probably won't have much to say about Smith County. During the course of the 2004 season, the Owls were the only team to defeat the Wildcats and they did it twice. Once early in the season and again in the third round of the 3A divisional playoffs.

After Friday night's 20-6 defeat in Carthage that ended Livingston Academy's season, Head Coach Matt Eldridge explained, "The team is taking this pretty rough right now, but they have nothing to be ashamed of. This team gave us everything we could ask; and hey, we're so proud of them.

"Tonight we played great defense for three quarters, then it just got away from us. That's football."

Coach Eldridge could not have explained it better. During the regular season, the Wildcats rolled over nine opponents and did it in convincing style, setting several school records along the way.

Going into Friday's game, both teams knew it would be a defensive battle and the victor could well be the team that got the right break at the right time. In the end, that's exactly what happened.

Smith County Coach Jimmy Maynord, also a graduate of Livingston Academy, said, "We knew Livingston would be our toughest opponent. They have an outstanding program there, very well coached, and this season had some outstanding athletes.

"We watched films and knew we had to shut down the wide running game, and that's what we did.

"This was a great high school football game between two outstanding teams. Both can be proud of their efforts."

During the regular season, no team had scored more than 14 points on Smith County, and the Wildcats knew they would have to be as equally tough on defense to have a chance at the win. And for three quarters, they were.

The first period took only 22 minutes to play. The Owls had the ball twice and the Wildcats once, and by the end of the first half, each team had 6 first downs, 97 yards on the ground, and 6 points. It took the two bands longer to perform the halftime exercises than it did the teams to play the game.

Coach Eldridge pointed out, "I don't know the stats, but the first half was fairly equal. That's about how we figured it would be. The biggest thing is that they shut down our option play, which had been our bread and butter all season. Give them credit, they defended us well."

The Owls got on the board with three minutes to go in the half, using only 4 plays, 2 runs, and 2 passes. The big play was a 42-yard pass play that put the ball at the Wildcat 22. Two plays later, Michael Wilmore bulled in from the 5. The extra point attempt was short.

Livingston responded on the next offensive series. Taking the ball down the field from the 36, senior Brian Colson rolled off 31 yards on 2 plays, then Jamey Vaughn got inside the 10.

On the next play, Vaughn fumbled, but quarterback Wilson Cates scooped up the loose ball, and with 29 seconds remaining, scrambled in for Livingston's only score of the night. Wesley Puckett's point-after try was wide.

For over 10 minutes in the third period, it was almost a repeat of the first half with neither team able to do much on offense as the two defenses completely dominated play.

Then, with 1:25 left in the period, the Owls got the break they needed when Cates got wrapped up on an option play and fumbled at the Livingston 43. On the very next play, Smith County went to the air, and connected on a 43-yard pass for the score.

"I blew it," Cates later said. "I fumbled and I let the pass receiver get away from me."

Smith County's final score came midway through the final period. The Owls put on one of the night's only sustained drives, getting 3 first downs and marching 42 yards.

On the other side of the ball, the Wildcats executed only 3 offensive plays in the final period, an incomplete pass, a punt and a fumble.

Colson said, "They beat us tonight. I'm still not convinced they are better than we are, but tonight the breaks went their way and they found a way to stop our option plays, which killed us.

"This is my final game, and I've loved playing football at Livingston Academy. This was a great team, and I'll always remember it.

"No one person won a game and no one person lost a game for us all season. This was a team effort from day one. We won as a team and we lost as a team. I'm just proud and thankful I was able to be a part of this team."

Smith County will host Knoxville-Fulton Friday night for the right to advance to the championship game at MTSU in Murfreesboro.

The Yardstick:

11/19/04 LA SC

1st Downs 8 12

Yds. Rushing 147 171

Yds. Passing 14 135

Passes Att./Comp. 5/2 10/5

Passes Int. By 0 0

Fumbles Lost 2 0

Punts/Avg. 6/36 5/43

Yds. Penalized 15 20

Score by Quarter:

LA: 0 6 0 0Total: 6

SC: 0 6 7 7 Total: 20


SC -Wilmore, 5 run. Kick failed.

LA -Cates, 5 run. Kick failed.

SC -Plummer, 43 pass from Brady. Hackett kick.

SC -Wilmore, 3 run. Hackett kick.






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